Marvel’s thrice-monthly Spider-Man comic has Peter Parker facing off against a second Spidey. Like he’s never done that before! Review and spoilers after the jump.
Amazing Spider-Man #562
Writer: Bob Gale
Artist: Mike McKone
What’s Going On:
After refusing to be a paparazzo, Peter Parker has quit the “DB” (formerly the Daily Bugle) under duress from its new editor-in-chief Dexter Bennett. Now unemployed and unemployable due to Bennett’s subsequent blackballing of Parker, Pete’s not having a good time of it.
Meanwhile, a small-time hood called the Bookie has been running gambling rackets in the supervillain community. His newest topic of wager involves the emergence of a no-name bad guy calling himself the Basher who is trying to call Spider-Man out for a fight via YouTube.
Lessons Learned Here:
- If you dress up in a ridiculous costume and call somebody out on YouTube, you’re probably going to get kicked in the teeth.
- Aspiring hoods should listen to their experienced hood dads’ advice.
- Not every falling girl who gets a web around her ankle has to break her neck. Gwen Stacy just needed more calcium in her diet.
How It Ends:
A fake Spider-Man shows up to fight the Basher, and Peter slips into his costume to confront the phony and to figure out what’s going on. The supervillain gamblers realize the Bookie has set up the wager and hired the fake Spider-Man, and the tide quickly turns against the poor sap. While the Bookie is trying to save his skin, Spider-Man catches the fake and unmasks him-er her to reveal Screwball, who admits to being hired by the Bookie. Spider-Man heads out to confront the Bookie and stumbles into the midst of a bar full of villains.
The Brand New Day storyline that wiped the slate clean for Spider-Man and reset his life, sans Mary Jane, has been a sore spot for many Spidey fans ever since this new somewhat-weekly run began. While I definitely can understand the frustration fans are feeling, I’ve come at it from a different angle. Prior to Brand New Day, I hadn’t read a Spider-Man book in many years. I’d had a few aborted attempts at getting back into the character, but all the mystical totem stuff had scared me away. After Brand New Day, there’s a new status quo, and it’s a perfect jumping-on point for people (like me) who previously were daunted by the meandering plot. So I’ve been following Amazing Spider-Man since the switchup and have been loving it.
Putting Pete into screwy situations and bringing his plight back to a more grounded and relatable life (as opposed to being Tony Stark’s butt monkey and living in the Avengers’ highrise) makes this feel more like Spider-Man than it has in a long time. The series has been good about tossing in new villains and sending Spidey on adventures with a decidedly classic-Spider-Man feel. All the while, there are a couple of overarching stories that are aching for payoffs and that have been keeping the continuity going.
On the one hand, there’s the Spider Tracer Killer running around, impersonating Spider-Man while killing people who previously had spoken out about Spidey. I wonder how long it’ll be before J. Jonah Jameson finds himself on the hit list. And on the other hand, there are the shady dealings of Dexter Bennett and his new reign at the former Daily Bugle. Bennett clearly is savvier and more wicked than he first appeared, and he has his fingers in many pies here. I’m beginning to wonder if he might actually turn out to be a Skrull before all is said and done.